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Author Topic: What MC do you think is acceptable to sell slabs at?  (Read 953 times)

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Offline RussMaGuss

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What MC do you think is acceptable to sell slabs at?
« on: July 29, 2020, 06:09:08 PM »
I was just thinking, since most people don't cut and glue up slabs, what MC would you think is acceptable to sell at? I'm assuming most people will either just pour epoxy on them or polyurethane so as long as the finish won't crack I figure as soon as it hits that point: sell sell sell! I read on here that different climates like NZ the normal humidity is like 12%, but where I am you're supposed to hit 6-8%, so assuming I'm selling slabs that will stay in my area, would you take it down to 6-8 or would higher be ok for live edge? 

(Assuming you still nuke it at 160 to kill bugs at the end)

Offline WDH

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Re: What MC do you think is acceptable to sell slabs at?
« Reply #1 on: July 29, 2020, 08:18:45 PM »
I dry to 10% moisture content or less for 9/4 slabs.  Some are used for tables, countertops, bar tops, and kitchen island tops.
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Offline firefighter ontheside

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Re: What MC do you think is acceptable to sell slabs at?
« Reply #2 on: July 29, 2020, 09:03:38 PM »
I have been selling air dried wood about 12-14%, but I make it very clear that it is air dried and not kiln dried.  Ive had no complaints about that.  I just got my kiln shed going and plan to be selling "kiln" dried lumber soon.  Ive got some of the stuff in the kiln at less than 8%.
Thats good to know about selling the thicker stuff at a little higher moisture.  
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Offline WDH

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Re: What MC do you think is acceptable to sell slabs at?
« Reply #3 on: July 30, 2020, 06:41:26 AM »
FFOTS,

Will you be able to sterilize in your kiln shed? 
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Offline busenitzcww

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Re: What MC do you think is acceptable to sell slabs at?
« Reply #4 on: July 30, 2020, 08:27:33 AM »
Iíve been pondering the same thing. I kiln dry down to 8% but store in a non climate controlled shed and they will go back to 12% or so generally. But most shops arenít climate controlled either so Iím not sure how that effects it. I talked to a local guy here a couple weeks ago who has built tables for Apple, Walmart, and Microsoft executives and he said heíll build with wood up to 12%. 

Offline firefighter ontheside

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Re: What MC do you think is acceptable to sell slabs at?
« Reply #5 on: July 30, 2020, 09:25:46 PM »
FFOTS,

Will you be able to sterilize in your kiln shed?
Good question.  I haven't tried yet, but need to soon.  I think I'm going to try with halogen lights.  I had it up to 107 the other day with just the dehumidifier on, but that was a hot day.  I'm just wondering how my shed building components will handle the heat.  I've already got several shrinkage issues with plywood.  The plywood floor buckled along a seam and I screwed it back down.  I may need to go around and put screws in.  I only used nails and didn't use any adhesive.  That was a mistake.
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Offline mike_belben

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Re: What MC do you think is acceptable to sell slabs at?
« Reply #6 on: August 01, 2020, 12:04:43 AM »
What do you guys consider a sterilizing temp?

I built a small wastewood fired kiln when i was trying to sterilize bundles for state parks.  TN requires 133F core temp for 30 mins.  My setup was basically a rocket stove through the bottom of a shed and the wood on a pallet rack above.  I could hit around 160F in the insulated chamber but never reached 133 wood core, and that was with the entire pipe glowing red and the whole shed starting to smoke after a full days burn.  It was a huge fire hazard that consumed too much wood for the wages.  Was disappointing. 
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Offline WDH

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Re: What MC do you think is acceptable to sell slabs at?
« Reply #7 on: August 01, 2020, 06:10:26 AM »
I heat at 150 degrees air temp for 24 hours to be sure that the core gets to 133 degrees. 
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Offline YellowHammer

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Re: What MC do you think is acceptable to sell slabs at?
« Reply #8 on: August 01, 2020, 08:25:12 AM »
One thing that makes me feel better as a seller is that I take a slab down to 7%, to get all the movement I can out of it.  I'm trying to make it grumpy.  So I will know how well behaved the piece will be at all reasonable customer MC's, in any type home or business environment.  I also sterilize at the 150F value.  

I do both of these as a "proof test", and it eases my mind when selling, and eases the mind of the customer when buying.  If a slab is going to do anything nasty, I would have seen it long ago, during the processing stage.  If it blows apart, cracks, warps etc, it will do it for me and not the customer.  

Many customers ask "What will this do when I take it home?  Will if crack?  Will it cup?" and the easy answer I give them is "No, I've taken beyond whatever you will, and it was fine. It's a good, stable, piece of wood."
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Offline btulloh

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Re: What MC do you think is acceptable to sell slabs at?
« Reply #9 on: August 01, 2020, 08:38:46 AM »
Yellowhammer, what's your percentage of reject slabs due to bad behavior?  Do they get sold as rejects at a heavy discount or do they become firewood?

Offline WDH

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Re: What MC do you think is acceptable to sell slabs at?
« Reply #10 on: August 01, 2020, 06:22:24 PM »
I rarely reject a slab.  Cut it into two smaller pieces, i.e. an 8' slab cut in half to two 4' slabs?  Yes.  Commonly.  Cutting in half reduces the defect if it is warp or twist or bow.  The badly cupped ones I slice longitudinally lengthwise, takes out a lot of the cup, then I can flatten them out on the jointer and plane flat to to make floating self board which are very popular. 
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Offline YellowHammer

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Re: What MC do you think is acceptable to sell slabs at?
« Reply #11 on: August 01, 2020, 09:53:11 PM »
Exactly.  Slabs with problems get trimmed, cleaned up, pieced, and sold for the same $/bdft as the full size slab.  In many cases, short 4 foot live edge pieces sell as good or better than full length.  Others we work them into pieces, and sell as edge 8/4.  

The actual disposed of waste amount is minor.



 



 




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Take steps to save steps.

If it wonít roll, its not a log; itís still a piece of tree.  Sawmills cut logs, not pieces of trees.

Kiln drying wood: When the cookies are burned, theyíre burned, and you canít fix them.  Donít burn the cookies.

Offline PA_Walnut

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Re: What MC do you think is acceptable to sell slabs at?
« Reply #12 on: August 02, 2020, 07:12:19 AM »
With @WDH and @YellowHammer , dry them down and work with the results. Better to cut a slab down, or even rip it if it goes haywire than dealing with a soccer-mom gunning for you! ;D :D Around these parts, the short slabs sell just as well as the longer ones...sometimes even better.

I can't think of a single reason that a slab should not be dried to the same spec as dimensional stock. I hear stories time and time again of big slabs grenading, even when epoxying it, from air-dried material, and improperly kiln dried slabs. We won't even talk about slabs that are not sterilized.  :o
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Offline alan gage

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Re: What MC do you think is acceptable to sell slabs at?
« Reply #13 on: August 02, 2020, 12:51:56 PM »
I'm a very small time player, if I could even be considered a player. I'm not relying on selling lumber for my income but I like selling to offset my costs (and reduce what I have on hand). I don't have a kiln and at this point don't plan on adding one. I've sold slabs fresh off the mill as well as ones that are air dried down to 11-12%. Strangely enough people around here seem to prefer saving money and buy the ones fresh from the mill. I've never had anyone ask if I have kiln dried material and have only had a couple people even ask how long it's dried or what the moisture content is. I'm always upfront about this and tell people what the moisture content is and how long it will probably take to finish drying and that I'd be happy to check the moisture content anytime they want to swing by with the piece.  All I can figure is that this is a relatively new phenomenon around here and that no one has had a bad experience yet.

I'm seriously considering only selling green slabs from here on out on an on-demand basis. I do not enjoy moving those big slabs and I don't enjoy hanging onto them for a year or two while they dry. And dealing with the degrade. And then it's not just what someone wants. Two years is a long time to speculate without a kiln. I don't even know if people will still be buying slabs in two years.

Thinking of just advertising that if you want slabs tell me what you want and I'll cut it out of a log and you come get it right away. They get a hefty discount because the risk and wait time is theirs and I don't have to stack and sticker heavy slabs. If no one wants to do that I can just saw those logs into lumber I'm more likely to use myself.

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Re: What MC do you think is acceptable to sell slabs at?
« Reply #14 on: August 02, 2020, 01:05:16 PM »
I do the same as WDH and Yellowhammer. You have to figure out how to market most anything that comes off the mill. One of the things I get is customers coming in looking for "scrapes". I just ask them if they ever went to a hog farm and asked for a scrap pig? I then let them know that I even sell my sawdust. There is no scraps in my inventory.
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Offline Stephen1

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Re: What MC do you think is acceptable to sell slabs at?
« Reply #15 on: August 02, 2020, 03:45:50 PM »
I am new at this also. Custom drying.
Customers do not always understand the importants of KD. I like to compare raisins and grapes. The raisin is the KD of the grape. KD slabs should look like a raisin. 
I aim for 6-8%. I believe all the movement should happen before I send the slabs home with the customer. 
I am dryng 6 large pieces of EWP right now. I can dry 3 pieces at a time.  13' long, 48" across. 14" deep. thats the thickest my WM will saw. We also sawed a fireplace mantle and 4 table top 3" slabs out of the middles.
 The customer is going to mount them on the wall in his mancave and mount his Hunting trophies on them.  I keep them in the kiln for 7 days. The kiln runs at 150-160 for 6 days. I am hoping the core will hit 150. I have no way of measuring the core temperature. 
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Offline scsmith42

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Re: What MC do you think is acceptable to sell slabs at?
« Reply #16 on: August 02, 2020, 04:36:05 PM »
I too follow the process of Danny, Robert, and Jake, and dry below 10%.  I'll sterilize for 24 hours at 160F, bringing them up from a temperature of 120F. 

I also run a conditioning cycle after the sterilization cycle. During this time I run a high pressure (1000 psi) fogging system while the lumber is cooling down from 160.  Usually it bottoms out at 90F and 40% RH and I'll run the cycle for at least 24 hours (and sometimes 48 hours with thicker material) in order to ensure that the core and shell are at a consistent MC%.

Quite frankly, before I installed the fogging system I ran into some problems with thick slab movement (3"+) after planing if it was planed immediately after drying.  The movement was due to delta's between the core and shell MC%'s.  This problem went away after I started placing a lot of focus on conditioning.
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Offline Stephen1

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Re: What MC do you think is acceptable to sell slabs at?
« Reply #17 on: August 02, 2020, 05:36:46 PM »
I too follow the process of Danny, Robert, and Jake, and dry below 10%.  I'll sterilize for 24 hours at 160F, bringing them up from a temperature of 120F.

I also run a conditioning cycle after the sterilization cycle. During this time I run a high pressure (1000 psi) fogging system while the lumber is cooling down from 160.  Usually it bottoms out at 90F and 40% RH and I'll run the cycle for at least 24 hours (and sometimes 48 hours with thicker material) in order to ensure that the core and shell are at a consistent MC%.

Quite frankly, before I installed the fogging system I ran into some problems with thick slab movement (3"+) after planing if it was planed immediately after drying.  The movement was due to delta's between the core and shell MC%'s.  This problem went away after I started placing a lot of focus on conditioning.
I can see that helping. Is the heat gradually reduced or the heat is shut off while fogging is happening.
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Re: What MC do you think is acceptable to sell slabs at?
« Reply #18 on: August 02, 2020, 08:33:51 PM »
I too follow the process of Danny, Robert, and Jake, and dry below 10%.  I'll sterilize for 24 hours at 160F, bringing them up from a temperature of 120F.

I also run a conditioning cycle after the sterilization cycle. During this time I run a high pressure (1000 psi) fogging system while the lumber is cooling down from 160.  Usually it bottoms out at 90F and 40% RH and I'll run the cycle for at least 24 hours (and sometimes 48 hours with thicker material) in order to ensure that the core and shell are at a consistent MC%.

Quite frankly, before I installed the fogging system I ran into some problems with thick slab movement (3"+) after planing if it was planed immediately after drying.  The movement was due to delta's between the core and shell MC%'s.  This problem went away after I started placing a lot of focus on conditioning.
I can see that helping. Is the heat gradually reduced or the heat is shut off while fogging is happening.
Heat is reduced from 160 to 90F while fogging.  It usually takes 12+ hours to drop, even with the fogging system cooling the air.  Several thousand bd ft of lumber is a bit of a heat sink.
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Offline 123maxbars

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Re: What MC do you think is acceptable to sell slabs at?
« Reply #19 on: August 02, 2020, 08:59:26 PM »
I do the same as mentioned above.  One thing though that always makes me shake my head is the customer will state they need a really dry slab, then I go on their Instagram account and watch them build a table with said slab in their garage workshop, with the door wide open, in the humid TN Summer. My dry slabs lying on the bench going up in MC, kills me seeing that, but the way it goes,  What it comes down to is most woodworkers/weekend hobby guys have a small garage shop with no climate control, so getting the wood down to the correct MC and selling it at that MC is the right thing to do, but the slab will probably never be that low ever again, most of the time at least, there are some exceptions. 
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